You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord , and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” – Mal. 2:17 NIV
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The Devotional for today continues to look at the message of God to the people of Judah through the Prophet Malachi. They obviously had been experiencing the negative sides of the Almighty God as He had refused all their offerings, so all their attempts to receive His reprieve had failed. Rather than look inwards, they had chosen to accuse Jehovah of everything ranging from Him being hypocritical about His professed love for them, a claim which he defended by letting them know how much He had favoured them from the time of the birth of their fore-father, Jacob, who was later known as Israel – Mal. 1:2-5. Communicating with them through the Prophet Malachi, he had highlighted two major reasons why their offerings were not yielding the desired result namely;
- They were offering blemished animals for sacrifices, contrary to his instructions on what the standard of items to be offered to Him, should be – Mal. 1:6-14.
- They were breaking faith with pledges made or actually separating from the wife of their youth. According to Jehovah, He hates separation of all forms and breaking faith with pledges already made – Mal. 2:10-16.
Today’s Devotional identifies another major reason, as revealed to Prophet Malachi by Jehovah, why their offerings remained unacceptable to the Lord. They were deeply involved in acts of injustice and rather than correct themselves, they chose to accuse Jehovah of being unjust to them – Mal. 2:17. Here was a people, who are unjust in all their ways seeking justice from a just God, and in the process, as revealed in the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional, accused Jehovah of loving those who do evil, and questioning His claim of being a God of justice. They probably thought they could emotionally blackmail Him. According to the Prophet Malachi, the Almighty God was tired of all their accusations and so had decided to grant their request for justice to be implemented, but it was going to start in His temple and with them – Mal. 3:1; 1Pet. 4:17.
He was going to send His messenger who will precede His arrival into the Temple, for the commencement of His judgement, wondering whether any one of them will be able to withstand His judgement – Mal. 3:2-3. He compared His acts of judgement to the action of the refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap, both signifying the thoroughness of His judgement. The refiner’s fire, like the launderer’s soap, removes completely all forms of stains or impurities, leaving a pure product. By this act, He was going to purify His Priests and those that will be left will be people who will bring offerings in righteousness, which are the kind of offerings that will be acceptable, like of old – Mal. 3:4. The group of people He intends to target during His judgement are the sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, defrauders of laborers of their wages, oppressors of widows and the fatherless, those who deprive foreigners of justice, and those who do not fear the Lord Almighty – Mal. 3:5.
The expression of doubt by Jehovah about their ability to withstand the day of His coming, and to remain standing after his judgement indicates the level to which the people who are seeking judgement, are themselves involved in or in support of all the above negative acts, which can be generally classed as acts of injustice – Mal. 3:2. Instead of looking inwards to see where they have erred and make efforts to change, they chose the path of claiming to be righteous and bringing accusation of injustice against Jehovah. He was only punishing them, in expectation that they will do the needful, but they chose to accuse Him of injustice and demand that He defends His personality as a just God, just as they earlier accused him of being hypocritical with His claims of love for them – Mal. 1:2-5. They were actually inviting destruction on themselves rather than repenting and receiving reprieve from the difficult situation that their acts of injustice had brought upon them.
Many Christians are in similar situations today. With their deep involvement in acts of injustice, they seek the intervention of a just God in their situation, supporting their requests with very expensive offerings and sacrifices. Such people act with the thinking that they can corrupt an incorruptible God with their offerings, which has become blemished because of their acts of injustice. Like it is said, “he who comes to equity must come with clean hands”. It is simply dis-honouring for sinful men to accuse a just Jehovah of injustice, for any reason whatsoever. If God were to mark sins, surely no man will stand, but such sayings remain foolishness to the one that is on the path of destruction – Psa. 130:3.
Do not attempt to lay claim to righteousness and perfection that you can never possess by your personal acts, before a righteous and just God. If you are able to trace the cause of your challenges to His action, then know for sure that it is His way of letting you know that you are straying from Him. The right thing to do in such circumstances will be to re-trace your steps back to Him, rather than trying to justify yourself before Him. No one will be justified before Him by claims to self-righteousness.
Do all that is humanly possible to live a just life by avoiding all the acts listed above or supporting those involved with them, but where it is impossible to attain that perfection state despite honest human efforts, then you are lucky to have an advocate before Jehovah, whose name is Jesus Christ and he is the restitution for your transgressions – 1Jn. 2:1. However, it will be impossible to access the Grace that he brings if all you plan to do is to lay claim to a righteousness, through your personal actions, that you clearly lack. Rather than accuse Him of being unfair to you, like the tax collector, admit your sinful nature and you will receive His justification – Lk. 18:9-14. May God grant us all the humility to live and relate with a just God in Jesus name. Amen.